Rochester 600k Report & Pix – July 23-24

A tough ride, but worth it. Eleven riders started, ten finished.  Weather was a big factor along with lots of big hills and rollers.  It was definitely a good ride to do with your rando friends.

On Saturday we had several hours of rain, thunderstorms and headwinds on a hilly (9,600’ of climbing) route through the driftless areas of Western Wisconsin and SE Minnesota, near the Mississippi River.  Mostly we stayed in one group until mid-afternoon then morphed into two groups of five and four with a couple of solo riders.

Sunday’s ride was a little easier (still 4,600’ of hills) with an annoying 5-15 mph headwind that followed us around the course until the last leg.  It was pretty warm and muggy for a while, but the clouds moved in and made it much more pleasant.

Special Recognition:

Congratulations to Keith Larson and Scott Gregory for completing their first Super Randonneur series.

Dan Diehn reached the ACP Mondial Milestone award; 40,000km of randonneur events over the past nine seasons – nice work, Dan!

Ride highlights included:

  • discovering a new rando meal at the Casey’s in Preston, MN early in the morning after a long leg: a breakfast pizza slice with pie for dessert
  • asking for water at an Amish farm near Lime Springs, IA, on a hot and grueling leg on Sunday afternoon
  • many miles and miles of straight into the wind roads through Northern Iowa, from Cresco, IA, all the way up to Dexter, MN
  • climbing Garvin Heights Rd (9 – 11%) in Winona right after a control stop. (Thanks, Tom!)
  • a fun leg on the Preston-Harmony bike trail including a few slippery mud patches that kept us paying attention
  • another fun ride on the Shooting Star Trail from Leroy to Adams through forests, corn fields and prairie fields
  • The last leg from Dexter back to Rochester when we finally got a nice tailwind and the roads were really smooth.
  • cold beer and a room to shower in at the finish

Six riders finished together late in the afternoon: Michele Brougher, Dan Diehn, Scott Gregory, Keith Larson, Jonas Nygard and Rob Welsh.

The remaining three finishers came in together a couple hours later: Tom Ehlman, Mark Olsen and Alex Piotrowski.

Ahi Bennuri abandoned late on Saturday, but will return again this coming weekend.

Ron Hillberg was the last to complete the ride, in 43 hours.  He doesn’t get official credit this time, but definitely earned everyone’s respect for persistence and attitude.

Thanks to Tom Ehlman for organizing and managing the ride, and for the cold beer and showers at the finish.

Ride Pictures

First group of finished: Jonas Nygard, Keith Larson, Scott Gregory, Rob Welsh, Dan Diehn, Michele Brougher

Finishers: Jonas Nygard, Keith Larson, Scott Gregory, Rob Welsh, Dan Diehn, Michele Brougher


Tom Ehlman, Alex Piotrowski, Mark Olsen

Finishers: Tom Ehlman, Alex Piotrowski, Mark Olsen

Keith Larson and Scott Gregory – first time Super Randonneur completions


Keith Larson, Rob Welsh, Scott Gregory

Dan Diehn, ACP Mondial 40,000k award

Rob Welsh, Dan Diehn

Rob Welsh, Dan Diehn

GLR and Minnesota Randonneurs Regional Brevet Administrators

Michele Brougher, Rob Welsh - RBAs

Michele Brougher, Rob Welsh – RBAs